Relegation threatened Waterford United turned the league form-book on its head at the RSC and held high flying Cork City to a draw.
Though City had won their last two encounters with United, the Blues shocked their near neighbours by defeating them 1-0 in a torrid opening league game of the season at the RSC in March and they came close to repeating the exercise last night.
After soaking up a fierce amount of early pressure, United took the lead on 10 minutes when a powerfully taken Dave Warren free from the left sideline, 20 yards out from the corner flag, evaded everybody in a crowded goalmouth and soared directly into the far corner of the net.
United’s Alan Kearney had the ball in the City net again on 28 minutes but, in a controversial decision by referee Pat Whelan, a free-out was awarded even though the ball came to Kearney, who ran in from an onside position, as a rebound off the upright from a Willie John Kiely strike.
City equalised four minutes into the second half when a clever move by Kearney and Leon McSweeney put Denis Behan clean through on goal and he unleashed a magnificent drive of such ferocity from 16 yards that the ball almost took the net off the United goal.
Four minutes later, United were unlucky not to regain the lead but Vinnie Sullivan’s left-footed pile-driver from a Warren cross came back off the upright with goalkeeper Michael Devine rooted to the spot.
As the game swung from end to end, it took an excellent save from Blues goalkeeper Packie Holden on 63 minutes to prevent Joe Gamble giving the lead to City.
The visitors went within a whisker of a second goal again on 75 minutes when Behan headed inches wide from a Kearney cross that was touched on by McSweeney.
The visitors twice went close to scoring in the first half when Colin Healy flicked a header wide of the upright on 16 minutes and the unmarked Brian O’Callaghan squandered a golden opportunity in front of goal by shooting weakly into goalkeeper Packie Holden’s arms on 24 minutes.
With a six-game unbeaten run under their belt, City lined out without the injured Darragh Ryan and John O’Flynn.
United, on the other hand, were put to the pin of their collar to complete their panel.
Kenny Browne and Darryl Kavanagh were on the injured list, Paul McCarthy was suspended, Dave Mulcahy cup-tied and Cathal Lorden ruled out because he is on loan from Cork City.
Despite an ankle injury, Alan Mulcahy was named among the substitutes.
The replay will take place in Turner’s Cross on Tuesday night with a 7.45pm kick-off.
Waterford United: Holden, Flynn, Hedderman, Brosnan, Breen, Warren, Scully, Kearney, Sullivan, Kiely, Birmingham. Substitutes not used: Hayes, Mulcahy, Delaney, Fitzgerald, Grincell, Dunphy, Woodgate.
Cork City: Devine, Horgan, Farrelly, O’Callaghan, Murray, Gamble, Woods, Healy, McSweeney, Behan, Kearney. Substitutes not used: O’Brien, Lordan, McNulty, Carroll, Softic, Murphy, Kelly.
Referee: Pat Whelan, Dublin.